Eco-friendly hotels hurt the Andarawewa Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka

Corruption, clientelism and land grabbing in order to construct a luxury resort in the Andarawewa Forest Reserve.


Description
In the Andarawewa Forest Reserve, land has been grabbed for the construction of luxury 'eco-friendly' resorts; the Forest Rock Garden Resort and the Palm Garden Village Hotel.
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Basic Data
NameEco-friendly hotels hurt the Andarawewa Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka
CountrySri Lanka
ProvinceNorth Central Province
SiteSinharagama, Anuradhapura district
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Tourism Recreation
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Deforestation
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
48 acres were allocated for the construction of the ‘Forest Rock Garden’ hotel. This plot is located at no 663 of the final village map of Andarawewa Grama Niladhari Division No. 341 of Nochchiyagama DS division. The land has been assigned to the owner of the Farm Garden Hotel, which covers an area of around 50 acres. Both hotels together thus cover an area of 98 acres (39.6ha).
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Project Area (in hectares)39.6
Level of Investment (in USD)2,000,000 for the resort project
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Populationabout 40,000
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesPalm Garden Village Hotel from Sri Lanka
Forest Rock Garden Resort from Sri Lanka
Relevant government actorsAgrarian Services and Wildlife Deputy Minister S. M. Chandrasena

Irrigation and Water Management Deputy Minister W. B. Ekanayake

Mahaweli Authority

Resident Project Manager of system H of Mahaweli

Madyama Nuwara Palatha Pradeshiya Sabha

Central Environmental Authority

Director Environment Conservation Trust
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCentre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Sri Lanka

Environment Conservation Trust (ECT) Sri Lanka

People’s Alliance for Right to Land - PARL

Sri Lanka Nature Group
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Waste overflow
OtherClearance of the forest leads to drying out of the tanks during the dry season. This deprives Elephants and other wildlife of their sources of food and water. As a result, Elephants are impelled to enter the nearby villages causing a human-elephant conflict.

Loss of medicinal plants and food crops previously offered by the forest.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Specific impacts on women
OtherDue to the loss of their natural environment, elephants now pass through Paddy fields, affecting the agricultural activities of the local farmer communities. As a result there is a degradation of livelihood and standard of living

The local communities have been deprived of the benefits like medicinal plants and food crops offered by the forest previously, extra expenses have now to be paid for the same commodities, leading a loss in the livelihood.
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesFollow and apply existing regulation regarding Forest Reserves
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the protests by local communities and a temporary suspension, the projects have been implemented
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka Act, No. 23 of 1979

National Environmental Act, No. 47 of 1980

References

[1] Uprooting people from the land. Land grabbing, current status and trends in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Nature Group, People’s Alliance for Right to Land - PARL. June 2012

Links

web site of Ministry of Mahweli Development and Environment
[click to view]

[2] Newspaper article from 'the sunday leader' online (10/01/2013). Land Grab Galore In NCP Forest Reserves By Nirmala Kannangara (accessed 20/04/2015)
[click to view]

[3] Newspaper article from 'Businnes today' online (March 2011). Priority To Nature By Udeshi Amarasinghe (accessed 21/04/2015)
[click to view]

[4] Article from 'the Daily Mirror' online (21/11/2013). Forest Rock Garden Hotel recreated kingdom in Anuradhapura. (accessed 13/07/2015)
[click to view]

Other Documents

The metal crusher in full swing, Forest Rock Garden Hotel under construction and Rasika Ekanayake’s metal quarry filled with water
[click to view]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the open cerimony of Forest Rock Garden Resort
[click to view]

the swimming pool
[click to view]

the Resort viewed from the top
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorCentre for Environmental Justice (Colombo, Sri Lanka) and Paola Camisani (EJOLT team, Barcelona)
Last update14/07/2015
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